Mexican Federal Police Capture Knights Templar Kingpin ‘La Tuta’

By Dialogo
March 03, 2015




Mexican Federal Police (PF) have captured Servando Gómez Martínez –alias "La Tuta"– the leader of the violent drug cartel the Knights Templar.

PF agents captured La Tuta when he stepped outside his house in the city of Morelia, in Michoacán state, during the early hours of February 27. PF agents carried out the operation without a single shot being fired, but rather relied on intelligence they had gathered over a period of months to locate and capture the drug kingpin.

"With this arrest, the Rule of Law is strengthened in the country and [we] continue moving toward a peaceful Mexico,” President Enrique Peña Nieto tweeted after confirming the arrest.

La Tuta, 49, evaded capture for years while Mexican Military and law enforcement authorities captured or killed several other drug kingpins. The Mexican government had offered a $2 million reward for information leading to his capture.

La Tuta is the leader of the Knights Templar, which controls most of the lucrative methamphetamine trade in western Mexico.

The transnational criminal organization engages in drug trafficking, kidnapping, extortion, firearms smuggling, and the illegal mining of iron ore. The Knights Templar is known for engaging in cult-like rituals, and its leaders have described the drug cartel in quasi-religious terms. Some new members are reportedly initiated into the group while wearing faux medieval costumes.

La Tuta's criminal career


The wanted kingpin started out as a common criminal.

La Tuta began his criminal life as a small-time marijuana dealer. He eventually joined transnational criminal organization La Familia Michoacana, where he rose to a senior level leadership position.

The drug cartel gained notoriety in 2006, when some of its members rolled five severed heads onto a disco dance floor in the city of Uruapan along with a message proclaiming the cartel’s aim to deliver “divine justice.”

A split in La Familia in 2010 led La Tuta to form the Knights Templar.

He is known for appearing in YouTube videos, in which he rails against the government and claims to be fighting for social justice. He has also justified the existence of his cartel as a “necessary evil,” that protects the population from even bloodier rivals.

La Tuta continued to release videos charting his own slow demise as federal forces closed in. He is also wanted by U.S. authorities for his alleged role in the 2009 killings of 12 PF agents.

Other high-profile cartel arrests


The capture of La Tuta is the latest in a series of high-profile arrests by Mexican security forces during Peña Nieto's administration.

For example, in February 2014, Mexican Marines captured Joaquín ”El Chapo” Guzmán, the longtime leader of the Sinaloa Cartel.

The following month, the Mexican Military killed two of La Tuta's top lieutenants in separate operations, "El Más Loco" (The Craziest One) Moreno and Enrique "Kike" Plancarte.

“This group does not have the same characteristics as the Sinaloa Cartel. The Sinaloa Cartel is a big, old, entrenched organization with clear mechanisms of succession," according to security analyst Raul Benitez Manaut, president of the Collective for the Analysis of Security with Democracy (CASEDE) in Mexico. "The Knights Templar is a much more primitive cartel - much more aggressive to the population, more personality-driven by the figure of La Tuta."

The capture of La Tuta could mean the end of the Knights Templar. But Mexican security forces must remain vigilant with respect to the remaining members of the Knights Templar, who may try to form smaller criminal groups, Benitez Manaut said.

"What is left of the Templar groups will most likely engage in criminal activities such as extortion and kidnapping, and won’t have the means to compete," with larger transnational criminal organizations involved with drug trafficking on an international scale, the security analyst said.

"This operation is undoubtedly a success for the Mexican government," stated Benitez Manaut. "Capturing La Tuta was a very clean operation.”

La Tuta sensed his days were numbered


In the weeks prior to his arrest, La Tuta’s tone changed. In his final audio released in late 2014, La Tuta admitted he regretted all the violence he had overseen. “I know that the federal government and all the institutions are after me. Well, go ahead señores.

You have to look for me and do your job.”

Police said they located La Tuta, who also said he would rather die than be captured, after following one of his messengers for months. PF agents also captured eight of La Tuta's associates; apprehended his brother, Flavio Gomez; and seized several weapons, including a grenade launcher.









Mexican Federal Police (PF) have captured Servando Gómez Martínez –alias "La Tuta"– the leader of the violent drug cartel the Knights Templar.

PF agents captured La Tuta when he stepped outside his house in the city of Morelia, in Michoacán state, during the early hours of February 27. PF agents carried out the operation without a single shot being fired, but rather relied on intelligence they had gathered over a period of months to locate and capture the drug kingpin.

"With this arrest, the Rule of Law is strengthened in the country and [we] continue moving toward a peaceful Mexico,” President Enrique Peña Nieto tweeted after confirming the arrest.

La Tuta, 49, evaded capture for years while Mexican Military and law enforcement authorities captured or killed several other drug kingpins. The Mexican government had offered a $2 million reward for information leading to his capture.

La Tuta is the leader of the Knights Templar, which controls most of the lucrative methamphetamine trade in western Mexico.

The transnational criminal organization engages in drug trafficking, kidnapping, extortion, firearms smuggling, and the illegal mining of iron ore. The Knights Templar is known for engaging in cult-like rituals, and its leaders have described the drug cartel in quasi-religious terms. Some new members are reportedly initiated into the group while wearing faux medieval costumes.

La Tuta's criminal career


The wanted kingpin started out as a common criminal.

La Tuta began his criminal life as a small-time marijuana dealer. He eventually joined transnational criminal organization La Familia Michoacana, where he rose to a senior level leadership position.

The drug cartel gained notoriety in 2006, when some of its members rolled five severed heads onto a disco dance floor in the city of Uruapan along with a message proclaiming the cartel’s aim to deliver “divine justice.”

A split in La Familia in 2010 led La Tuta to form the Knights Templar.

He is known for appearing in YouTube videos, in which he rails against the government and claims to be fighting for social justice. He has also justified the existence of his cartel as a “necessary evil,” that protects the population from even bloodier rivals.

La Tuta continued to release videos charting his own slow demise as federal forces closed in. He is also wanted by U.S. authorities for his alleged role in the 2009 killings of 12 PF agents.

Other high-profile cartel arrests


The capture of La Tuta is the latest in a series of high-profile arrests by Mexican security forces during Peña Nieto's administration.

For example, in February 2014, Mexican Marines captured Joaquín ”El Chapo” Guzmán, the longtime leader of the Sinaloa Cartel.

The following month, the Mexican Military killed two of La Tuta's top lieutenants in separate operations, "El Más Loco" (The Craziest One) Moreno and Enrique "Kike" Plancarte.

“This group does not have the same characteristics as the Sinaloa Cartel. The Sinaloa Cartel is a big, old, entrenched organization with clear mechanisms of succession," according to security analyst Raul Benitez Manaut, president of the Collective for the Analysis of Security with Democracy (CASEDE) in Mexico. "The Knights Templar is a much more primitive cartel - much more aggressive to the population, more personality-driven by the figure of La Tuta."

The capture of La Tuta could mean the end of the Knights Templar. But Mexican security forces must remain vigilant with respect to the remaining members of the Knights Templar, who may try to form smaller criminal groups, Benitez Manaut said.

"What is left of the Templar groups will most likely engage in criminal activities such as extortion and kidnapping, and won’t have the means to compete," with larger transnational criminal organizations involved with drug trafficking on an international scale, the security analyst said.

"This operation is undoubtedly a success for the Mexican government," stated Benitez Manaut. "Capturing La Tuta was a very clean operation.”

La Tuta sensed his days were numbered


In the weeks prior to his arrest, La Tuta’s tone changed. In his final audio released in late 2014, La Tuta admitted he regretted all the violence he had overseen. “I know that the federal government and all the institutions are after me. Well, go ahead señores.

You have to look for me and do your job.”

Police said they located La Tuta, who also said he would rather die than be captured, after following one of his messengers for months. PF agents also captured eight of La Tuta's associates; apprehended his brother, Flavio Gomez; and seized several weapons, including a grenade launcher.






THE MORE HONEST POLICE OFFICERS THERE ARE, THE LESS TRAFFICKERS. It would be excellent it's really interesting
Share